Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Month 14, A Review

Dear Phoebe,

On Monday you turned 14 months old. To celebrate, I made you your new favorite meal: pasta with zucchini and tomato sauce served with cottage cheese. You've eaten it every day since and you do not seem to be getting tired of it. Truthfully, I've been eating it, too and it is pretty good.

The past month has been filled with new experiences. You have (FINALLY!) started standing up! Using EVERYTHING at your disposal -- coffee table, kitchen cabinets, my baking rack. Regularly! So regularly that -- oh my GOD -- we're going to have to childproof our house soon. I mean, just in the past week we've had 2 incidents involving you, a bowl of yogurt left on the coffee table and a VERY happy Lola cleaning it all up.

You've also started identifying nose, chin, ears, hair and glasses. Glasses is your favorite though because you know you're not supposed to touch them, so when I say to you "Phoebe, where's mommy's glasses?" you give me a guilty grin and gently reach your hand up to touch them.

The other day we were going through your alphabet flash cards and when we got to the letter "B" (they were out of order, so by that point we had almost gone through all of them) and I said "B - Buffalo!" you looked at the picture and I could see something click behind your eyes. You reached over to your little snail toy and pressed the button marked "B" and the little voice in the snail toy said "B". I tried it again and again and you kept doing it! I was so excited I sent your dad a text message. He replied: "cool!"

So far, "B" is the only letter you recognize, but I think it's because the button is red -- and you love ANYTHING that's red.

Your dad and I are looking forward to celebrating our 2nd anniversary in a few weeks and it's amazing to think about the difference between this anniversary and the last one. Last year you were so little and helpless and dependent on me for milk we took you with us to dinner. This year you are crawling and standing and full of personality and, therefore, we will be leaving you at home with your grandma.

I remember -- all the time -- how when I was still pregnant with you I would go to sit in the rocking chair in your room and wonder about you. All I could do was wonder what it was going to be like to be a parent. To change a diaper. To get a baby dressed. To have a roommate (as I liked to jokingly call you when talking about you to your dad).

I spent a day just doing laundry last June. Washing all the onesies and blankets and burp cloths (in very expensive fragrance-free dye-free detergent, of course) and folded each item carefully, placing each in a designated space in your room. I imagined that those drawers would always stay that way. Neatly arranged. Everything just so.

Of course things are not that way. Your room is usually a disaster of clean clothes (some that fit, some that don't) mixed with dirty clothes all over the floor. The toys are everywhere. The room has never been decorated beyond a few pictures we've put up and the letters I bought on a whim that spell out your name. There's papers on the desk I bought, and shoes and headbands and blocks just scattered about. I try sometimes to pick it up and make it right again, but it doesn't usually last very long.

This past week one of your molars on the bottom (your right side, if you're curious) has started to break through your gums, which means that you have been in a lot of pain. My understanding from other moms is that teething affects every baby differently. You just happen to be extremely sensitive to it. We're doing the best we can to comfort you. We give you ice cream, motrin, hugs.

In the middle of the night, you wake up crying because you don't understand why you're in pain. I go to your room and pick you up and give you more medicine and then nurse you until you're calmed down. Until your belly is full of milk. And we rock in that rocking chair in the nursery. The one I used to sit in before you were born. And I look at the pictures on the wall. And the letters I bought that spell out your name.

I think about how big you're getting now. And how before you were born I had no idea about what the future would hold. I hold you and I look at you and your skinny little arms and I think about your future now. And I realize I have no idea what will happen. I wonder about the next 4 years we have you at home before kindergarten. And how fast that time will fly. I wonder about what your experiences of school will be, and will I be able to listen to you when you tell me about them.

Will I be a good listener?

I hope so. I haven't always. In my imagination you and I have this amazing relationship and we're really close and we tell each other everything. And I think about how excited I am for what will come. And I get so excited I almost scare myself because you're going to get bigger! And it's going to happen so fast! And you're already getting so long you can stretch your legs almost over the edge of the arm on the rocking chair (but instead you curl them up, the backs of your knees resting over the crook of my elbow).

And then you're almost asleep and so I get up off the chair, put you back in your crib and press the button on the turtle to play the music you love so you can fall asleep. You roll over, wrap your arms around your little stuffed doggie, I pull the blanket up under your arm and you make your little noise of happiness and I rub your head and tell you "goodnight" before I walk back into my bedroom to go back to sleep.

Still wondering about the future.

Still trying to hold onto now.


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